Job-assistance money welcome, but more needed

Two local agencies that help laid-off workers in Silicon Valley and San Mateo County received $3 million in grants Tuesday that they say will help more than 3,000 workers find new jobs but still falls short of their demands.

The roughly $2.7 million given to the North Santa Clara Valley Job Training Consortium and $300,000 awarded to the San Mateo County Workforce Investment Board are about one-half to one-third of what the groups once received from the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, consortium Director Mike Curran said.

“The reality is we have an extreme amount of worker dislocation that takes place,” Curran said.

The state’s unemployment rate has gone up during the last several months but the federal government still supplies the state with less money in grants each year, said state Employment Development Department spokeswoman Loree Levy, who added that the trend could very well continue.

The money will go toward training, workshops, job leads and even case managers the two agencies can assign to the unemployed.

Since 1990, the Silicon Valley group has worked with 20,000 laid-off workers and helped more than 71 percent of them secure jobs.

Typically, the most common job seekers are high-technology workers, Curran said. Company mergers, outsourcing on a global scale and the technology that requires more highly skilled people has created high turnover in the tech industry, he said.

In San Mateo County, the companies that laid off the most workers this year were Sun Microsystems in Menlo Park with 174 employees, Monster Cable Products in Brisbane with 135 workers and Vaxgen Inc. in Brisbane with 107, according to the state Employment Development Department.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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